When preparing your jazz-funk-rock stew, be sure you've compiled the proper ingredients: Guitar. Check. Bass. Check. Drums, perc. Check. Piano—acoustic & Rhodes. Check. Organ, Clav, Moog. Check. Seasonings: Electric violin, sax, clarinet. Check. For added zest: Turntables. …Check?
DJ Big Wiz is here! Only on five out of twelve checks, I mean tracks, so don't fret. No expense is spared in the world of Stratospheerius by project leader and electric violinist Joe Deninzon, espouser of vocals of the midline Clapton, Matthews sort. Ex-Testament alum Alex Skolnick is the resident Stratoguitarhero [wallets open everywhere] who vies for lead time and decibel priority with Deninzon, much to the delight of the other players, who revel in the fraternity-like atmosphere, cracking jokes at each others' expense. This is clearly a fusion album, combining styles & musics western & eastern, rocky and smooth, or even country-iffic & salsa-noid—only polkas, waltzes & curtains of white noise didn't make their appointments. Romp you will through The Adventures Of Stratospheerius and its instrumentals & songs, and refreshed you'll feel when the final seconds have played out.
Listen for the Hohner Clavinet's regal wriggling in the sheets between Deninzon's surgical stratostrike and Skolnick's arachnoid countermeasures. Keyboardist Scott Chasolen also digs into his Rhodes and sweeps the sliders with his Moog on the mini-epic "Nefertiti." This kid's a bigwig on the Rhodes, trust me—you'll reach for the REPEAT function for "Hindsight." DJ Big Wiz defaces the wax on "Peppermint Patty," "What's That Thang?" and "Contusion," his presence nowhere near as obtrusive as one might imagine. Violinphreeks don't get their fixes often enough, so they ought to home in on this stash like white to rice. Deninzon and Skolnick (who's proved himself many times over on many recordings) are comfy as kitties on plush couches whether they're rockin' out, groovin' on, bringin' the cows home on the down-home honky tonk shtick of "Storytime," or burnin' up the floorboards on the salsafied closer "Chunga Changa."
Yeah, yeah, I hear you over there, at the shadowy table, bitchin' about the turntables. What was it that Chong told Cheech in Nice Dreams?
Don't worrrrrrrrry about it!!!!